To facilitate best practice in open education in Scotland through the development of a peer support network, an online hub and awareness raising activities.
To enhance the Scottish tertiary education sector’s capacity and reputation in developing publicly available online materials supported by high quality pedagogy and learning technology.
The potential for OER to transform higher education (HE) has been widely remarked (e.g. Welsh Government, 2014). Other authors (e.g. D’Antoni, 2013) have explored the contribution that OER can make to widening participation in HE and recasting the traditional boundaries between universities and the rest of society. However, the evidence suggests that this promised transformation is yet to happen. For example a recent OECD report (Falconer et al, 2013) found limited impact on lifelong learning across Europe. The data on MOOCs is well known and shows that currently most of those studying on massive open online courses are already in possession of higher education qualifications (Edinburgh University, 2013). The 4Rs of OER: the opportunity to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute involve only a small minority of staff in higher education (Dhanajaran and Abeywardena, 2013).
Scottish Higher Education has a strong focus on cross-sector partnership and collaboration. OEPS has its origins in projects carried out in the last four years. In most cases these have involved close partnership between the university and other organisations that would not normally be involved in the creation of educational materials. In each case the target audience has been individuals and groups who would not normally be involved with higher education. The development of new online content has involved a process of co-creation combining the knowledge and lived experience of students and professionals with academic knowledge and skills in learning design. Critically, however, the partners have their own social networks that have enabled use of the OER at significant scale.
OEPS aims to build on these approaches and other valuable experience from across the Scottish sector to meet the project objectives. Integral to the project methodology is a process of embedded research and evaluation aimed at understanding and evidencing good practice. In this paper we will share the progress of the project to date and the questions and issues that are emerging.
D’Antoni, S. (2013) ‘Open Educational Resources: Access to Knowledge – A Personal Reflection’ in McGreal, R., Kinuthia, W. and Marshall, S. (eds) (2013) Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice. Vancouver: The Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University
Edinburgh University (2013) MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013 Report, http://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/6683
Falconer, I., McGill, L., Littlejohn, A. and Boursinou, E. (2013) Overview and Analysis of Practices with Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe. Luxemburg: European Commission
Welsh Government (2014) Open & online: Wales higher education and emerging modes of learning”, Report of the Online Digital Learning Working Group, http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dcells/publications/140402-online-digital-learning-working-group-en.pdf,